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A Home for Mr. Easter

By Zak Edwards
June 3, 2010 - 05:05

I’m still trying to figure out what Brooke Allen’s A Home for Mr. Easter is doing.  The book is an elaborate chase sequence, spanning almost two hundred pages, as an overweight and socially awkward teenager named Tesana attempts to return a egg-laying rabbit to his home.  The book plays with dream sequences, reality, and a blurring between the two, gradually moving from explicit dream sequences to incorporating the more absurd moments of the chase into the reality of the story.  Where an escape from a bus by a unicorn at the beginning of the story is a dream, the later inclusions of magic goggles and other paraphernalia is part of the reality Allen constructs.  At it’s heart, however, A Home for Mr. Easter is a simple quest story, with a strong-hearted, misunderstood character as a protagonist, carrying a treasure to its proper resting place.  In other words, the book is fairly simplistic and stereotypical.

This simplicity is perhaps why I am so undecided about this book as, at its best, the book is a stylistic achievement populated by an assortment of generic characters and scenarios.  I personally did not enjoy it very much, the entire graphic novel is a haphazard collection of scenes which feel like it was written on scraps of napkins with the madcap chasing scenes serving only to bridge these weakly connected moments together.  However, this very narrative style fits with the story itself and the protagonist it follows, as Tesana is socially awkward at best, established very early on in a fairly stereotypical scene involving the bullying of her at her new high school by some flat cardboard cut-out high school archetypes.  Tesana retreats to various aspects of juvenile fantasy (unicorns in particular) in order to cope with her unstructured home life and inevitable bullying.  Of course, she remains sympathetic throughout the story, continually reinforced by the talking rabbit she is returning.  Mr. Easter has a built-in ‘good person measurer,’ as his eggs are able to only hatch and help only those of good character.  The story itself continually builds more characters interested in the egg-laying Mr. Easter, from scientists at a cosmetic company, protesters to the cosmetic company, an evil magician, and a greedy pet store owner.  None of the characters seem to break out of their mold, remaining generic stereotypes in much the same vein as the high school students in the establishing scenes.  Even Tesana is only vaguely interesting, but more through the way the character has influenced the narrative style rather than the character herself, who is fairly easy to figure out as a troubled victim.  Tesana obviously sees the world in fairly simplistic ways and thus the black-and-white morality and stereotyped characters fit into her perceptions of reality.  Furthermore, her juvenile reactions to many situations, mostly hyperbolic resorts to violence, could be seen to connect to the story's pace and style, which is also hyperbolic and fairly confused.  But even in this, with the exaggerated drawing style of Allen, the story is plotted in a very basic structure.  The book, overall, is a debut book of a creator still finding out who they are and what they can do, and while this book doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in Allen’s ability as a writer, her visuals are certainly something I look forward to seeing more of.

Allen’s rough black and white art reflects the protagonist’s story perfectly, coupling a very exaggerated, constantly flowing, and busy style with a story strung together very haphazardly.  From the get-go, Allen establishes every character as a caricature, easily molded into hyperbolic expressions and archetypes.  The bus driver, a wrinkly, demonic looking character, snarls with a cigarette dangling from her mouth.  Tesana herself, a gentle giant character, easily shifts into violent and aggressive poses and expressions, with Allen’s very detailed backgrounds literally being pushed aside to have a full impact of Tesana’s capabilities.  The art is a lot of fun and Allen is obviously having a great time as well.  So the book becomes very much a visual experience rather than a literary one, and Allen's obvious talent, with energy leaping from the page, could suit a lot of creators' stories.

Last Updated: January 24, 2022 - 11:00

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